THURSDAY-SUNDAY JANUARY 21-24
A Song for Coretta
REMAINS OF A LEGACY
Playwright and native Detroiter Pearl Cleage's A Song for Coretta examines the legacy of the Civil Rights era and how it still resonates — or doesn't — with contemporary African American women. The play brings together a cross-section of women — from a veteran of the civil rights movement to a pregnant 17-year-old to an idealistically naive college student — who are standing in line to pay their respects at Coretta Scott King's funeral. The women joke, clash and eventually bond, paying tribute to King's efforts while leaving the audience to grapple with the enormity of how much remains unfinished. At 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit; 313-868-1347; $17 advance, $20 at the door; runs through March 21.
FRIDAY JANUARY 22
Yo La Tengo
A quarter century in, Yo La Tengo has become the ever-captivating statesmen of the indie scene, the perennial critics' faves of experimental, cerebral rock. After 25 years, their genre jumping and tireless eclecticism has led to a sound that's identifiably theirs — at times catchy and melodic, at others alienating and unruly; heard in a perfect pop gem or in a never-ending jam, but always, singularly, Yo La Tengo. The New Jersey trio released its 12th (or 14th, depending on who you ask and what you count) disc last September; Popular Songs, true to form, runs the gamut from fuzzy pop to psychedelia to the requisite epic noise fucks. The group kicks off a short eight-city US tour at 7:30 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $17 advance; with special guest Times New Viking.
FRIDAY JANUARY 22
THE ART OF LOSING
Through the prisms of life and death, displacement and exile, and memory and love, five artists explore the ways presence and absence affects our lives. Artists include Amy Sacksteder, whose latest work uses imagery from the end of Amelia Earhart's life — maps, palmistry and fictitious artifacts — to reflect on mortality; Sun You, a Korean American who paints self portraits in watercolor to examine how her identity is split by the East of her past and the West of her present; and Alison Wong, who tackles ideas of romantic love head-on with works that meld personal and pop culture images. Other artists included in Presence/Absence are Faina Lerman and Luzhen Qiu. Opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, 407 Pine St., Rochester; 248-651-4110; on display through Feb. 20.
FRIDAY JANUARY 22
Woodbridge Records 1 Year Anniversary
A YEAR'S WORTH OF SHACK SHAKIN'
Woodbridge Records formed one year ago with the goal of offering support and promo to Detroit bands and musicians. Based out of a converted carriage house known as the Big Gray Shack, a creative and community hub for the Woodbridge neighborhood, the label's roster currently boasts three artists: dreamy indie-pop quintet the Summer Pledge; punk-meets-folk trio Noman, members of which include label founders Andrew Beer and Robbie Budai; and the venerable I, Crime, who keep things interesting by combining sweet boy-girl vocals with straight-up, balls-out rock. All three groups take the stage to celebrate the one year milestone at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $5; all ages; with the Cupcake Collective DJs.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY JANUARY 22-23
Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray
THE GREAT EMANCIPATOR DANCES!
Renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones created Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray in celebration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth last year. The evening-length work is a jam-packed multimedia performance, featuring film and video, dramatic recitation, 10 dancers and a live band performing an original score that runs the gamut of folk to rock to gospel. The work re-visits significant moments and figures from Lincoln's life — the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Mary Todd, the Civil War — and ponders Lincoln's legacy, as well as attitudes toward it, in 20th and 21st century America. The epic work (the title of which comes from Lincoln's second inaugural address) will be performed by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, an internationally recognized Harlem-based company that has been at the forefront of modern dance fore more than 25 years. 8 p.m. both days at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; tickets ($18-$44) and info at 734-764-2538 and ums.org. In conjunction with the shows, Bill T. Jones will speak about his work as part of the ongoing Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors series at 5:10 p.m. on Thursday at the Michigan Theatre. On Friday, Jones and other dancers will answer audience questions immediately following the performance.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY JANUARY 22-24
Fonts! A Type of Musical
THE WRITE STUFF
Spotlight Players present Fonts! A Type of Musical, an original one-act by three Spotlight actors that explores the virtual life of computer typefaces as they cavort through cyberspace, interact with each other and learn that there's life beyond Microsoft Word. Characters (get it?) include Old English, French script, chiller and symbols, along with a trio of humans that frame the fonts' story. Fonts! is being presented as a fundraiser for the Spotlight Players and takes place at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Village Theatre at Cherry Hills, 50400 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton; 734-394-5300; $10.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY JANUARY 22-24
Plymouth Ice Festival
Chainsaw-wielding artists will spend the weekend carving up gargantuan blocks of ice at this annual fest, formerly known as the Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular. But despite the streamlined name, the event itself packs just as much punch, featuring more than 100 sculptures, live entertainment, ice-carving competitions and a speed carving show (participants must carve a 300-pound block of ice in a mere 15 minutes). To coincide with the fest, numerous downtown businesses are offering their own events and specials. Of particular note is Station 885's attempt to break the record for the world's largest snow cone. The 5,000-pound specimen, containing 90 gallons of sugary syrup, will be revealed in the restaurant's parking lot at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Ice sculptures will be displayed 24 hours a day beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, with an official opening at 7 p.m. at Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth; info at 248-960-0700 and plymouthicefestival.org.
SATURDAY JANUARY 23
The dance provocateurs behind the Macho City monthly bring it hard for its first edition of the new decade, welcoming one-man funk machine Publicist to the dance floor for a live throw down of disco sounds. Publicist is Sebastian Thomson, formerly the drummer for synth-rock outfits Trans Am and Weird War. In his current drums-and-electronics incarnation, he creates disco-delicious beats paired with intergalactic vocals, creating what should be the soundtrack for a groovy dance party in space. But rather than beaming in from the far reaches of the cosmos, Publicist performs, rocking a bare chest and a huge gold chain, at the R&R Saloon, 7330 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-849-2751; doors at 10 p.m.
SATURDAY JANUARY 23
Prefuse 73 is the most noteworthy musical identity of Guillermo Scott Herren, a masterful and prolific glitch-hop producer whose bleeps, blips and bops are interwoven with smooth flow from his MC friends. Since he released Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives in 2001 (his first release under the Prefuse moniker), Herren's sound has expanded to include flashes of prog rock, world beat and psychedelia, cut up and pasted together in brief — often less than two minutes — electro, hip-hop jams. His experiments in sound have led to collaborations with a number of avant-rockers, including early work with School of Seven Bells and Battles, and later collaborations with the Books, Blonde Redhead and TV on the Radio. He performs with a full band at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $15 advance; with Gaslamp Killer and Voices Voices.
SUNDAY JANUARY 24
Robert Gordon & the Gang They Couldn't Hang
BOB GETS HIS "DREAM BAND"
Robert Gordon — the great rockabilly revivalist who rose out of New York City's punk scene to become a cat Jerry Lee Lewis once called "the real deal" — has played the Magic Bag in the past. He's even played there before with Chris Spedding, the British guitar virtuoso Gordon met during the late '70s when he was touring as the opening act for Roxy Music, for whom Spedding was playing guitar at the time. (The guitarist is also the benefactor who helped resurrect Gordon's career when the singer hit a bad spell during the early '90s.) But this latest Detroit appearance promises an even better and more improved Gordon, thanks to the band the two dudes put together last summer, which includes the rhythm team of drummer Slim Jim Phantom (from the Stray Cats) and bassist Glen Matlock (the guy who preceded Sid Vicious in the Sex Pistols and co-wrote all of Never Mind the Bollocks). Sounds like a "supergroup" in the truest sense of the term and an event where, in the words of the King, "one can get real, real gone for a change." At the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030.
The Art of the Artist's Book
At its most basic, an artist's book is one that's viewed as a piece of art in and of itself. As a genre, the artist's book has come into its own in the last few decades, but its origins are often cited as the eighteenth century, when artists such as William Blake inserted multiple prints into a book of text, creating a new relationship between image and word. The Art of the Artist's Book features works in a range of media, from the obvious paper and paint to the more unconventional magnetic sheeting, steel and clay, showcasing the various forms, styles and meanings that the term "artist's book" can encompass. Twenty artists contributed pieces, including Kara Walker, who works with printers and bookbinders to create "deluxe book" editions of her work; Michael E. Smith, who appropriates existing books for his art; and Donald Lipski, who uses books to create three-dimensional works. The Art of the Artist's Book displays through April 4 at the Oakland University Art Gallery, 2200 N. Squirrel Rd., Rochester; 248-370-2100.